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A Losing Saturday for the Atlantic Division, A Winning One for DeRozan

For the NBA’s Atlantic Division, Saturday was an all-around losing day as the Brooklyn Nets (20-25),  the New York Knicks (19-28), the Philadelphia 76ers (15-33) and the Toronto Raptors (25-22) all went down. The Boston Celtics (15-33) will have the sole league game on Sunday against the Orlando Magic (13-35) as most sports fan will devote their TV viewing to the final day of the NFL season.

Fortunately the Celtics will break the losing steak for the division and get a win (-6, 190.5 u).

Here’s a look at two of Saturday’s losses: the Nets and the Raptors.

Pacers defeat the Nets, 97-96

With 36 points from 24 Pacers (36-10) turnovers, the Nets still fell short on Saturday, suffering their third straight loss. This came after the team started January with 11 wins over 12 games.

On Saturday, the game went back and forth with the Nets jumping out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter–actually doing so three times–but the Pacers went on a 6-0 run to end it leading 25-24. By halftime, after a second quarter full of lead changes and ties, the Pacers were ahead 46-45.

Deron Williams

Deron Williams

They came back strongly in third quarter outscoring the Nets 12-2 at the start and creating a 58-47 advantage. The Nets said not so fast and went on a 19-9 run but entered the final quarter behind, 72-70. The game came down to the end but Deron Williams’ 3-pointer with four seconds remaining was too little, too late.

For the night, Shaun Livingston led the Nets in scoring with 24 points–a season-high–while Joe Johnson added 16 points. Paul Pierce contributed 15 points, while Williams scored 13 with Kevin Garnett at 12 points.

Nets coach Jason Kidd said of the game via the Associated Press, “We play 82 games through the season and you’re going to have your ups and downs, and hopefully you’re ready come playoff time.”

Currently, the Nets sit in the seventh spot for the Eastern Conference, 15 1/2 games behind the Pacers, with 33/1 odds to win the 2014 NBA Championship. On Monday, they’ll look to end their losing streak against the 76ers, who have lost two consecutive games.

As for the Pacers, who sit atop the Eastern Conference, are awaiting the arrival of Andrew Bynum. The team signed him on Saturday with the hopes he can help them win a championship. He was not with the team for the Nets game but is expected to join them this week.

With Saturday’s win, the Pacers have a league best 22-2 home record and sit at 11/4 to win the 2014 NBA National Championship. On Monday they’ll play the Magic.

Trail Blazers defeat the Raptors, 106-103

The Raptors DeMar DeRozan was a one-man NBA show on Saturday scoring 36 points for the night with 30 of them in the second half (14 in the fourth quarter). He represented 22 of the team’s baskets during this time as well as 12 assists (10 in the second half) for the night and 12 field goals.

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan

While this wasn’t enough for Toronto to get the win, DeRozan is now the sole player over the last 10 seasons to have 30 points with 10 assists in a game’s half, according to Elias. He was recently voted to the All-Star team.

Kyle Lowry contributed 23 points for Toronto.

The Raptors made the win difficult for Portland (34-13), who entered it with a two-game losing streak. Returning from the half with a 57-40 deficit, Toronto came surging back in the third quarter, coming within six points. However, Portland got hot with 3-pointers, hitting four over four minutes to take back a double-digit advantage.

DeRozan couldn’t miss in the fourth quarter, leading his team to a 16-2 run that gave them a 103-102 advantage but Portland was not going to lose this one.

With the loss, Toronto remains at the the top of the Atlantic Division with the Nets four games behind. Vegas has the Raptors at 66/1 to win this year’s championship. On Monday, they look will seek a win against the Utah Jazz (16-31).



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